The New York Times today called President Bush's 2008 budget proposal "improbable" (and other have said much less kind things about it), but I want to take a minute to look at what monetary value the President is willing to put on renewable/alternative energy for cars.

Bush's budget calls for $179 million for biofuels research, $81 million for research on advanced hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles, and $309 million "to complete the President's five-year, $1.2 billion commitment to support development by 2020 of commercially viable hydrogen infrastructure technologies and fuel cell vehicles that produce no air pollution or greenhouse gas emissions." Hydrogen is obviously the big winner here, but that's to be expected from this White House. All told, these three items add up to $569 million dollars.

Now, let's compare these numbers with one or two others in the proposed budget.
  • $481.4 billion for the Department of Defense's (plus supplemental funds of $93.4 billion for 2007 and $141.7 billion for 2008) for a grand total of $716.5 billion dollars. Alternate reading: The military is 1,259 times more important than greener cars.
  • $2.8 billion to combat the spread of illegal drugs. Alternate reading: Stopping pot smokers is 4.9 times more important than greener cars.
We all know Presidential budget proposals are just starting points for Congressional budget negotiations, especially this year. But this is what members of the Bush Administration really think of driving greener. Maybe someone needs to remind them that if we used less oil, we wouldn't need such a huge defense budget in the first place.

(Note: I think I did all the math right in this post, but billions have a lot of zeroes, so if I goofed, it's an honest mistake. Clear it up for me in the comments).

[Source: White House, EERE]


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